By Gabrielle Owens
Youngstown State University’s Division of Student Experience created many events for freshmen, both virtual and traditional face-to-face, for the fall semester. Each event will allow students to gain the full college experience, despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Eddie Howard, vice president of Student Affairs, said he and the Division of Student Experience staff made a variety of changes to comply with social distancing guidelines.
“We canceled a variety of face-to-face events that we normally would have. For example, we had to cancel our annual Ignite program, which would normally have all our freshman students attend that program. Everything we did in the past couple of years had to be altered due to social distancing and the 10-person limitation that we have on campus,” he said.
Howard said students will still have the opportunity to participate in limited face-to-face events on campus.
“We have done a lot of limited events where we opened the campus recreation center for students to use. Also, we’ve adjusted the spaces in the Kilcawley Center for student organizational meetings and smaller group sessions,” he said.
Every Monday, students will receive an email with a variety of virtual or in-person events to participate in, according to Howard.
“There are a number of virtual and in person events planned throughout the semester to hopefully engage students. So, we are trying to find creative ways for students to access these events and interact in a safe way,” he said.
Caitlyn Sapp, a freshman biochemistry major, is currently enjoying her first year at YSU. She said she’s having a good semester while learning online.
“It’s not what I expected, I am trying to get accustomed to everything which is the hardest part, but I think I’m starting to get used to things and it’s getting easier to manage,” she said.
Claire Berardini, associate provost for Student Success, said the First Year Experience staff created a new seminar to help students adapt to academic life.
“This fall all of the first-year students will have a new course called YSU 1500, and this course will be taught by their academic advisor so our freshmen can have a better advising model than in the past, which is going to be a big support for them,” she said.
Berardini said students should reach out to their academic advisor if they need help with adjusting to their online and in-person classes.
“That would be the first person to go to if students need help during the semester,” she said.
The Center for Student Progress has many resources available for students to utilize during the semester.
“The Center of Student Progress offers group tutoring and individual tutoring, which is offered both online and in person. Also, if students feel like they need help with structuring, organizing and time management, they can ask for an individual coach,” Berardini said.
Berardini wants freshmen to enjoy their first semester at YSU.
“Try to connect with students in your classes, we can still make friends and get to know people,” she said.